Saima Sardar, a resident of a Christian-majority neighbourhood in Faisalabad, was reportedly shot and killed on 10 July by Muhammad Waseem, a Muslim man, after she refused to convert to Islam and marry him. According to local reports, Saima worked as a staff nurse at a local district hospital where she was murdered.
A few months prior to the incident, Saima complained of being harassed by Waseem. She was so deeply concerned by the harassment that her brother, Akash Masih, had to accompany his sister to and from the hospital every day. Local reports claim that Masih was in the hospital when his sister was shot.
People close to Saima’s family claim, “Saima was in [a] healthy and friendly relationship with Waseem. However, when he continuously insisted Saima convert [to Islam], she decided to keep [her] distance from him and prove her loyalty to her Christian faith. Therefore, Saima very boldly refused his proposal even though she was threatened with consequences.”
Saima was reportedly engaged to another man and was supposed to be married in November. Waseem, angered by the rejection from a Christian girl, continued to push for a relationship with Saima. He reportedly insisted that if her family failed to allow her to marry him, he was willing to go to court with the issue.
A friend of Saima said, “Saima was a committed and practicing Christian, therefore she did not betray Jesus.”
Pakistani Christians are often viewed as second-class citizens. This widely held bias in Pakistan’s Muslim majority, is the root cause for much of the persecution and discrimination experienced by the country’s Christian community.
In cases where Christian women reject the advances of Muslim men or refuse invitations to convert to Islam, violence can erupt. Christian women are often kidnapped and forcefully converted to Islam. According to a study by The Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan, as many as 1,000 Christian and Hindu women face this treatment in Pakistan every year.
Source: International Christian Concern
- Ask the Lord for justice for this family, pray He will comfort them in their grief. May they also be loved, supported and cared for by their Christian family.
- Pray the testimony of Saima will be widely told to encourage young woman to take care but also act as a witness for Saima’s love for the Lord.
- Pray more will be done by the authorities to protect the vulnerable and bring the perpetrators to justice.
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